This article will have short reviews for the following films in this order: United 93, Wind River, The Cabin in the Woods, Brigsby Bear and Miss Stevens.
The directing in United 93 was quite phenomenal. Greengrass’s documentary-esque style worked really well with the subject matter given. His style makes you feel as if you’re there right next to the kidnapped, which created a very tense and down to earth feeling. Greengrass was able to write a very dislikable group of villains, which made you root for the passengers of United 93, even though you knew little to nothing about them. It’s evident that you’d root for the passengers rather than for the villains as they’re terrorists, but the way Greengrass approached it, is what I liked. The fact that he kept us in the dark of who the characters were, also added to the realistic atmosphere the film’s striving for, as the passengers were complete strangers to each other as well. It’s tense, it’s gripping and it won’t let you go for the 116 minutes it’s playing; it’s really good.
Wind River is a dark and depressing film, told and written beautifully by one of my favorite writers working today, Taylor Sheridan. It’s his directorial debut and it’s a darn good one. Sheridan’s brought over his storytelling capabilities as a writer to a unique directing style and doing so created a ton of brilliant scenes, with my personal favorite being the pepper spray scene and the consequences thereof. The POV shots, the way the camera moves, Elizabeth Olson’s fantastic performance, the score in the background that’s slowly building up tension, the distorted sound effects, Sheridan playing with the camera’s focal length; everything adds up to an awesome and immersive scene, though that one isn’t the only brilliant scene; the interrogation scene, the shootout… As I’ve said: the film’s filled with them. The cast is filled as much with unfortunate Oscar-snubs as the film is with brilliant scenes; Bernthal, Renner, and Olsen should’ve most definitely been nominated, but Graham Greene and Gil Birmingham too were worthy of a mention.
In the likes of Tucker and Dale versus Evil and Shaun of the Dead, Cabin in the Woods too makes fun of the stereotypical horror films and turns it into an enjoyable comedy. Since I’m a big fan of the previously named films, I was expecting to like Cabin in the Woods as well, which I unsurprisingly did. I really dug all the references and homages it paid to the horror classics like The Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre… but what I really liked was that it had some substance outside of these references. The story was original and it gave the writers the ability to poke fun at the clichés, while also actually using them. The acting was also decent, with every actor giving a very charismatic and humoristic performance. The humor was quite good too, though at times the punchline was relatively predictable. There were even some visual gags that I liked, due to the fact that there was a very good director on board of whom I’d love to see more in the future.
Brigsby Bear was one of the most creative and original, yet overlooked films of 2017. The film’s plot is one that hasn’t been told before and the creative genius behind the camera succeeded at capturing it brilliantly. The cinematography was gorgeous, the story gripping, the characters felt real, though the situations some have been in were quite absurd. The acting was extremely good from everyone, but it was Kyle Mooney who was the standout and who truly gave an Oscar-worthy performance. The film will grab you from the minute it starts playing and it won’t let you go until you’ve witnessed the beautiful and emotionally captivating story about a man wanting to make a film.
Miss Stevens was a well-written and well-performed piece of film. The two leads were brilliant, especially Timothée Chalamet shone, and the supporting actors were great too. Some bits of the dialogue felt a bit on the nose and visually speaking the film lacked some power. Sure, there were some nice shots, but others could be quite bad. The characters were interesting and I wanted to get to know them better. They were all well explored and the relationships established were also fleshed out really well.